When you cook, the soundtrack is almost as important as the ingredients. That’s why we feature great new artists in Music To Cook To. Next up, Indians…
“I Am Haunted,” the third track on the debut from Indians, Somewhere Else (4AD), starts with a strange electronic sound that quickly gives way to a heavy-handed guitar strum. Then Søren Løkke Juul’s plaintive voice enters, the electronics and acoustic guitar coalescing into a melody befitting the song’s title. The chorus is lighter, however, with Juul singing “Girl you’ll be fine,” then throwing in a little hook before expanding into an almost orchestral flourish. It’s a really remarkable, memorable song, and it may not even be the best thing on this first entry from an unknown Dane. Looks like food and design isn’t the only amazing thing coming out of Copenhagen these days.
Here, Søren Løkke Juul tells us about the genesis of Indians and Somewhere Else, which comes out January 29. It’s already being compared to Sigur Ros, the atmospheric Icelandic band, but the folkier side of it will also appeal to fans of Bon Iver. Oh, and of course he talks cooking and drinking with us too.
Somewhere Else has an almost otherworldly sound to it. What was your goal?
Actually, I never saw myself as a producer or songwriter. I was just in a position where I suddenly had a lot of time on my own. And I moved to an apartment with a spare room so I could build myself a studio. I just started recording; I didn’t think that much about where I wanted to go with the music.
What did you do before you started Indians early last year?
I’ve been playing keyboards in bands for 10 years and I decided to do my own stuf. It was just a question of challenging myself and doing something different. I wanted to write my own music.
Have you always lived in Copenhagen?
I have been living in Copenhagen for 12 years and I lived in small cities and grew up in a small town of like 3,000 people. I always knew I wanted to live in a big city. Before I started focus exclusively on music, I worked as a gardener, a mailman. I worked in factories.
Do you take advantage of Copenhagen’s food scene?
We have Noma, which is one of the best restaurants in the world. I haven’t had the chance to eat there, but I ate at the other Michelin restaurant, Umami. It’s very expensive, but it’s like French sushi, and it’s not a thing I normally do, but I’ve been very lucky to be invited out to eat at some really expensive restaurants in Copenhagen and it’s been mindblowing. It’s not only the food, it’s the atmosphere — the waiter telling you the whole story behind the wine you’re going to drink and the story about how the food is made. It costs a lot of money, but then again you sit there for five or six hours and just eat small, really nice dishes. I have experienced formel B.
What about the rest of the time? How do you eat?
I’m very much into Italian food. I used to travel a lot in Italy, going every summer. And being in the north of Italy, they have secret restaurants in the mountains; there won’t be a sign at the street, but it’s a restaurant. The food is really simple but it’s more the things they use are so fresh. I guess I don’t go out much in Denmark because I enjoy making my own food. I make food inspired by the food I find around the world. One of my best food experiences is being in New York. It’s crazy how much good food you have in New York.
What do you listen to while you cook?
I like classical music when I cook. It’s a way of splitting off — use an hour of making food and do something different during the day. Take the time to make yourself a good meal or maybe invite friends over. It could be classical, or, like instrumental electronica even. It’s just a time to relax; the music has to be in the background.
Copenhagen is becoming known for good cocktails. Do you know any good spots?
I don’t go out much for drinks. We have a good beer culture in Denmark. I go to a place in a small basement, a place called Musiksmag. A lot of Danish musicians go there and listen to records and drink beers and play foosball. You meet a lot of people from the music industry and business at that little bar. It’ quite secret. You have to know the place to go there.
What else do you recommend doing for those visiting Copenhagen?
One thing that is really special is during the summer, since we have a lot of water around Copenhagen: You can jump in the harbor and there will be thousands of people swimming around in the summertime. And they’ll have barbecues and picnics [along the shore]. That is really special for a capital city, that it’s so clean that you can swim in the middle of it. We have a lot of parks. I’d recommend renting a bike and just exploring the city.
Your first big tour as Indians took up a large chunk of the end of 2012 for you, right?
Yes, it was two and a half months. The whole tour started at CMJ in New York. I was in the States doing support for Other Lives, so we had to play like 40 concerts all around the country. I got to see a lot of the United States.
What was your favorite experience?
I was really surprised in Philadelphia. At the end of the tour we were in Philadelphia and downtown was really beautiful, the most beautiful city I think.
Did you try any foods on tour?
It was for the fun of it but we had a classic Chicago-style pizza. It was like five layers of meat and cheese. It was crazy. I’m not sure I liked it but it was an experience.
For more on Indians as well as music, check out the page at 4AD.
Read more about the food and drink in Copenhagen on Food Republic: